As the year comes to a close, it’s natural to shake up some old favorites. Their familiar and comforting taste will no doubt help you let go of 2009. But nostalgia is no excuse for limiting your bartending creativity. To help you create some new favorites in 2010, I’ve put together a hot list of cocktail ingredients you should be using in the New Year. Cheers!
For the last few years, bartenders around the country have been brightening up our cocktails with muddled cucumber. For a change, try juicing other vegetables like cooked beets and celery, which add a savory note to a drink. You can also use pickles or even pickle juice to add a sour or briny note.
Cocktails are getting hot. Seriously, mixologists are making drinks increasingly spicy. Gently muddled habanero peppers (you can tone down the heat by discarding the seeds and using thin strips) or hot sauce, like Tabasco, can add a refreshing kick. For a delicate spice, shake your cocktail with a generous handful of cilantro leaves.
Have a Sweeter Year:
Every cocktail recipe now seems to call for simple syrup (a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part sugar). But there are other ways to sweeten a drink. Try using honey, maple syrup or agave nectar, which works well with tequila and brown spirits. Not to mention jams and jellies—one dollop can add flavor and sweetness to cocktail.
Fresh mint gives a wonderful aromatic note to many popular drinks but it’s not the only herb you should be using. Next time instead of mint try basil, sage, rosemary or tarragon. This small substitution will completely change the flavor of a cocktail.
Hendrick’s Breakfast Martini
Contributed by: Charlotte Voisey
- 1.5 oz Hendrick’s Gin
- 2 teaspoon Orange marmalade
- .75 oz Fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz Simple syrup
- Garnish: Lemon peel
- Glass: Cocktail
Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel and serve with buttered toast on the side.
Charlotte Voisey is the Mixologist for William Grant & Sons USA.